I can’t imagine not following through with the future I’ve dreamed about; I can’t imagine going to jail; and I also can’t imagine how disappointed my parents will be. I’ve only ever worked to make them proud. Now they’ll think all their sacrifices were wasted on a monster.

I don’t notice the black car following me until a few houses down. It moves steadily, stopping and slowing when I do, then speeding up when I pick up the pace. I swallow, walking faster.

I’m probably being paranoid, I tell myself, glancing at the car window. My heart stops. Though the reflections on the glass make it hard to see clearly, I spot a pair of black-gloved hands on the wheel and the same creepy mask from Thursday covering the person’s face. I start to run down the sidewalk, breathing hard now, eyes stinging as I try not to fall over.

What is this?

My toes feel numb in my stilettos as I try to outrun the car, the sound of the engine revving making my whole body tremble. I can see my house’s gates in the distance, and by the time I reach them, stumbling down the path, I can hardly breathe. I’m hyperventilating. As I push the keycode into the pad and rush through, I hear the car engine switch off.

I unlock the front door and dive inside, slamming it shut, sliding both bolts across.

I back away from the door like it’s a bomb about to go off, trying to catch my breath but finding it hard to get air in. As I watch, there’s a distant movement behind the blurry panes of the door.

They can’t get through the gates. They can’t get through the gates.

There’s an angry beep of the keypad, before a figure approaches the door, and the distorted smile and pale skin of the mask come into view. I scream, backing farther down the hallway.

“Mom! Dad!” I yell, sobbing as I watch the door.

Read More

Buy Ace of Spades: Amazon | Bookshop